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24 September 2015

The Big Move

Technically, it's not ch-athens any more

Man, almost a month without posts on this lazy weblog. In the meantime, early September, I emptied my appartment in Athens and moved finally to Naxos. So technically, this blog should not be called "ch-athens" any more, but I don't think I'll rename it anyway.

It would be nice if I could describe the move as uneventful, but that wasn't what happened. Since I'm moving to an island, ships are involved. Which means that you can't just rent any old van and carry your stuff over. Doing so would mean to pay a lot of money for bringing a car over on the ferry boat and then bringing it back. So what I did is hire a mover.

That was necessary for another reason: I'm still recovering from that broken leg, and therefore I shouldn't lift stuff. So they did all the lifting. But this is also the point where the "eventful" part of the move happened for me. Even if I didn't lift heavy stuff, I put a lot of stress on the leg. Push something over here, lift a box on top of another box there. Put lots of stuff into boxes. Carry the garbage downstairs. I had a very tired leg.

Towards the 3rd day, I was completely exhausted. I had problems going up the stairs, even without carrying anything. At some point I was sitting somewhere, and I saw a picture frame that I had to take down. I must have looked at it for 15 minutes, trying to gather the strength to get up and do that task too. What saved me was my friend Panos, who came over on the last day and did the last "heavy" jobs, like carrying down the last garbage.

At the end of it all, I went to the port and took the boat back to my new home. The tourist season was still in almost full swing, so the boat was pretty much full. I got myself a cabin, laid down and slept till Paros (1 hour before Naxos). Then I had a shower and got myself ready to arrive. It cost some extra money, but I already started to feel a bit better.

It took the leg some time to recover though. I guess it threw me back 2 or 3 weeks. On the next day I started with my regular swimming routine again, and as soon as I was floating in the water, I felt as if the recovery process in the leg was starting again.

Posted by betabug at 08:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
19 December 2015

Die Waschmaschine


Ich habe eine ältere Waschmaschine. So ein Teil, das man von oben befüllt. Es passt nicht allzuviel Wäsche rein, und moderne Waschmaschinen brauchen garantiert weniger Strom und Wasser. Ich hab sie gratis bekommen: Als unsere WG zügelte, war sie im neuen Badezimmer, aber kaputt. Der herbeigerufene Reparaturtrupp zuckte nur mit den Achseln, und ich "reparierte" sie dann selber (der Abwasser-Schlauch musste höher gehängt werden), dann wusch sie wieder weisser.

Letzte Woche war sie dann wirklich kaputt. Das Lämpchen ging noch an, aber sie startete nicht mehr. Einige der "Programme" auf dem Drehrad brachten sie noch in Bewegung, aber wann immer Wasser angepumpt werden sollte, ging gar nichts.

Also überlegt man sich, ein neues Teil zu kaufen. Nur, schade ist es schon. Also doch nochmal einen Mechaniker finden und schauen was geht. Wir haben hier einen sehr guten Klempner, den habe ich um eine Empfehlung für einen Waschmaschinen-Menschen gefragt. Zuerst wusste er keinen, dann fiel ihm einer ein, und dann rief ich den an. Er kam dann auch vorbei, mit 3 Stunden Verspätung (mein Klempner ist immer pünktlich) an einem sehr kalten Abend.

Er kuckte sich das Teil von vorne und hinten an, drehte etwas am Programmrad rum, klick, klick, klick. Dann schlug er den Deckel einmal ordentlich und mit Schwung zu. Paff! Und die Maschine sprang an. Was haben wir gelacht, schnellste Reparatur seit langem. Im Deckel-Verschluss ist ein Sicherheits-Schalter, und der ist alt und lahm. Jetzt dürfen wir mit dem Deckel jedesmal zwei oder dreimal zuschlagen, dann läuft die Maschine. Falls der Schalter mal ganz aussteigt, überbrücken wir ihn.

Eine neue Maschine empfahl der Mann nicht (obwohl er sie verkauft), denn bei den Stromschwankungen im Netz hier brennt öfter mal die Elektronik durch. Das hatten wir auch schon von anderen Leuten gehört, bei der ersten Panne nach Ablauf der Garantie kann man das Gerät dann wegwerfen. Da muss es schon sehr viel Strom und Wasser sparen, damit sich das lohnt.

Posted by betabug at 19:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
25 January 2016

Cleaning My Fountain Pen

So it went for a swim
Rotring 600... the dust should have been cleaned for the photo, but wasn't

Yesterday I managed to get my fountain pen back into a useful state. I've had this Rotring 600 for a long time, probably almost 25 years or so. There are times when I use it a lot, and there are times when it just sits there till the ink dries up in the cartridge, and then I clean it a bit and put in a new cartridge. Lately that didn't work any more.

So either it was hopeless, or it needed better cleaning. A quick search on the intarwebz showed, that this model is not sold any more. On the other hand, there is a lot of advice about cleaning around. The safest method, and the first one should try, is to place the front part of the pen (the one with the nib) in a little warm water. Let it bath there for 20 minutes or so. I tried that. An impressive amount of ink liberated itself and did a credible octopus-impersonation. I changed the water a couple of times afterwards, and let running water run through the pen after that.

It worked. Putting in the half-used cartridge again, it writes very well now. If I let it sit again, it will probably dry up again, but not as fast as before. But then I will try to use it more regularly now, both to enjoy it more, and to not let it dry up.

Posted by betabug at 12:14 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 January 2016

Carfree Rain Sounds

No swooosh

When you think of it, rain doesn't make a lot of noise, unless it's strong rain. There might be some dripping and splashing, and when it gets to strong rain, a thin drumming on the earth and on your window. One sound that tells us that it's raining outside, when we can't see it from the window, is the swooshing that car tires make on rainy streets. We got used to that from living alongside cars all the time.

Now that I live in a car free village, that sound simply isn't there. It's rare to hear any car sounds at all, sometimes at quiet times we can faintly hear a very loud car exhaust over on the road. As for the rain sounds, since things are overall more quiet, it's easier for me to hear the rain itself.

But then there are surprises too. A few days ago when it was cloudy and very windy, I heard something like the whooshing of car tires on wet roads, and concluded that it started raining without thinking about the impossibility of it. Even if a car would make it onto the donkey-sized village "street", it couldn't produce that rhythmic sound of cars passing up and down again and again. Intrigued I stepped outside to have a look. The little enigma was solved quickly enough: My neighbors have a palm tree with those thing-fingered palm leaves. The wind threw them around, and they managed to put on a good car tire sound imitation.

Posted by betabug at 21:59 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 January 2016

Vehicles and Berets... and French Restaurants

When I was still driving a 2CV
Me, with my former 2CV, on some road on mainland Greece

Since I'm wearing a beret lately, I've taken to reading the Beret Project blog (and especially looking at the wonderful pictures that Daan finds all over the place). Today's post is about Best Vehicles to Accompany a Beret, with some nice pics of Citroën cars. This instantly reminded me of a story back when I was driving a red 2CV in Switzerland...

One day I had arranged to meet with a friend in a French restaurant in Zurich. The restaurant was not exactly in the center, but nearby, close to the Limmat. I arrived with the 2CV, but there I had a hard time to find a place to park the car. After going in circles for a while, I noticed that the only spot was right outsided the door of the restaurant, marked "reserved for restaurant ..." (I forgot the name of the restaurant). Well, what could I do?

I was already late, so I just parked my car on that spot. As I entered the restaurant, I went to a waitress and said: "I'm sorry, I put my car on your parking place." As I told her that, she started to pump herself up, probably to tell me to take my car somewhere else, that they needed the space, that the space is not just for anybody etc. etc. But just as she was getting ready to blast me with her speech, she looked over my shoulder and noticed my car. A red 2CV outside a french restaurant in Zurich. It was like an advertising piece. She visibly deflated and told me it's ok, so I went on to have some nice crêpes. Too bad I wasn't in the habit of wearing a beret back then.

Posted by betabug at 10:29 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
31 January 2016

I tried to be social once

Usually I just try to be funny, with equally lame results

Yesterday as I was shopping in town, the supermarket didn't have any milk (Naxian, real milk, not plastified white water). Luckily we have a "περίπτερο" (periptero, a kiosk) in the next village, which is usually well stocked with said milk. So on my way back I stopped there. Now, since a while there is (apart from Michalis, the owner) a young lady who works some of the shifts there, and as I've heard through a third party, she had gone on a trip for some university exams. As I arrived, I noticed a young lady in the kiosk.

So I picked up my milk from the fridge, and went to pay. As I gave her the money, I nonchalantly said: "So, how was the trip, everything went well?" She gave me a blank look, "You mean Michalis trip? He's been back for some time?" "No, I thought you had gone to university for those exams." Turns out, I had the wrong young lady. Ah, la honte, as the frenchman says! Now there is a young lady who either thinks that I'm pretty ignorant or blind, or both. Well, for once I try to be social, and that's the result. I should probably get back to making cheap jokes instead.

Posted by betabug at 19:33 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
03 February 2016

So cute

Cute company on the road

One thing to be careful when cycling on Naxos is too look out for flocks of sheep and/or goats on the road. They can be in the middle of the road, blocking your way. Or they can be on the side of the road, and as you pass them, they get scared and try to run away... often straight across your way to the other side of the road. But right now, it's often so funny, because in this season there are a lot of very young animals out there. As seen in the picture, they are torn between being scared, and curious about this strange cyclist guy here. And they are really cute.

Staying with the group

Most of the time they just try to stay with the group, going wherever theyr mommy is going. Yesterday one little goat had to do multiple tries to follow its mother up the side of the road.

Mommy, look how fast I can run

Other times the young ones are even trying to run faster than their mother. Still they are even more planless than the older animals, so watch out!

Posted by betabug at 21:32 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
08 February 2016

Am I Lazy?

Let me lay under a tree for a couple of hours and ponder the question
Lying under a tree

In a discussion with a friend over lunch, he told me: "The way you describe your work, one could get the idea that you are lazy!" Indeed I am. Being lazy is a key ingredient to a good programmer. It's what makes us automate tedious, repetitive tasks.

On a further scale, I like things like riding my bike and then sitting somewhere under a tree, pondering all and nothing... and then churr churr my subconscious starts working on those work problems that keep holding the work up.

Being lazy makes me write automated tests for my program code, because a couple of hours writing those tests will save me many, many hours of searching when a problem in that program code appears in a few months. There are many more practical things like that.

Posted by betabug at 22:30 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
20 February 2016

Katzenklappe, inklusive Lernfaktor


Zwecks Erweiterung der Katerfreiheit und Zwecks der Minimierung der Türöffnertätigkeiten wurder hiernorts eine Katzenklappe angeschafft. Die Dinger sind ja inzwischen ganz modern. Früher gab es entweder die Variante "Bring deine Freunde mit" oder die Variante "Katze hat ein Halsband mit einem dicken Magneten". Neu gibt es die RFID-Variante, die mit dem Chip im Nacken der Katze erkennt wer rein darf und wer nicht. Chip hat die Katze ja sowieso schon, denn auch so eine Katze kann ja mal verlegt werden.

Der Probleme gab es jetzt aber zwei oder drei: Erstmal sind ebendiese modernen Katzenklappen hier in Griechenland nicht erhältlich. Kenn wa nicht, ham wa nicht. Also hat sie uns jemand aus dem Ausland geschickt. Der zweite Punkt war der Einbau. Da gab es diverse lustige Vorschläge, wo das Teil reinpassen würde. Nicht gefallen gefunden hatte das Fenster im Badezimmer, wenn man da auf dem Ôrtchen sitzt, wäre es unpassend wenn der Kater versucht an einem vorbei sein Wegerecht wahrzunehmen. Ein Loch in einer Holztür war dann doch einfacher.

Der letzte Punkt, der hatte es dann aber in sich. Von damals in der Schweiz hatte ich das nicht so in Erinnerung, aber so ein Katzentier muss das erstmal lernen wie man so eine Katzentür benutzt. Das Problem ist einerseits, dass Katzen es vermeiden, Dinge mit dem Kopf zu bewegen oder zu drücken. Andererseits hat der Kater in der Praxis gelernt gehabt, dass er Türen und Fenster nicht aufmachen kann und ihm auf Zuruf geöffnet wird. Also sitzt er grundsätzlich erstmal da und wartet, dass man ihm aufmacht. Eine unserer Katzen in der Schweiz konnte auch Zimmertüren aufmachen, ich denke, das hat den Lernprozess beschleunigt.

Wie lernt er es also? In ganz kleinen Schritten. Erstmal Klappe aufbinden und ihn entdecken lassen, dass er da rein und rauskommt. Dann Klappe Stück für Stück weiter zu machen, so dass er sich dran gewöhnt, die Klappe zu schieben. Irgendwann ist sie dann zu, aber dann hat er schon gemerkt, dass er sie aufdrücken kann. So weit so gut, mit dem kleinen Zusatz-Spassfaktor hier, dass wir im Dorf eine kleine Bande von mehr oder weniger "herrenlosen" Katzen haben, die von verschiedenen Nachbarn und uns durchgefüttert werden, und die liebend gerne reinkommen um zu schauen, ob unsrer vielleicht nicht alles aufgegessen hat. Also Katzenklappe aufbinden geht nur, wenn jemand da ist und aufpasst. Das macht das ganze etwas langwieriger und aufwendiger. Schlussendlich ging es dann doch, ungefähr eine Woche hats gedauert, zur allgemeinen Zufriedenheit.

Posted by betabug at 22:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
30 April 2016

Flower Power Sprint

Working and having fun on Naxos again
The official sprint tshirt artwork

The team I'm working with on one of my projects has this tradition of meeting roughly 2x per year and working all together for about a week. We call that a "sprint" (despite that some software process terminologies call something different "a sprint", we're not bothered). The last one was last November in Galicia, Spain. This time we were on Naxos again (for the 3rd time now, April 6-16).

Our program consisted of 3 days of intensive work, then 1 day off, then another 3 days of "sprinting", followed by 2 days for "social stuff". We were quite productive on the work days, which resulted in us enjoying the "social" days together even more. We also had lunch and dinner together mostly, which resultet in way too much food being eaten. In early April, not all naxian restaurants are open, but there is still a good selection.

Borja and me spent much of the "social" time out on a bike. We explored many of the less cycled roads of Naxos together, and the number of climbs was almost dwarfed by the number of sheep and goats we met out on the road. We also met The Pig (which is another story for this weblog, but since The Pig has a no-photo shield around it, maybe better for another time). In the process, Borja managed to pass the magical "100km in one ride" mark, of which he has written a nice ride report. Oscar and Panos went looking for sheep and goats on a couple of motorbikes, but they missed The Pig.

One perfect fit is that we got a new team member from Naxos, joining the team just a few days before the sprint. This fit perfectly, as he could meet all the team members, and also get a working start on the code base.

Oscar has another sprint report online, with tons of picture.

Posted by betabug at 21:31 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
03 October 2016

Grüezi mitenand!

Vorhin auf dem Dorf

Als ich heute Mittag einen kleinen Spaziergang zum Briefkasten [1] machte, kamen mir auf dem Rückweg ein paar Touristen entgegen. Nicht weiter ungewöhnlich, liegt das Dorf doch auf einem halbwegs bekannten Wanderweg. Auf dem Dorfweg hörte ich sie bevor ich sie sah, und was ich hörte war eindeutig Schweizerdeutsch. Als ich die beiden Wanderer (komplett mit Wanderschuhen und Stöcken) dann auf mich zukommen sah, grüsste ich sie spontan... auf Schweizerdeutsch: "Grüezi mitenand!" Resultat: Die beiden Wanderer waren wohl sprachlos, denn ich bekam keine Erwiderung.

Ich grüsse ja normalerweise auf Griechisch und auch da kommt es bei Touristen schon mal vor, dass ich nicht zurück gegrüsst werde. Es gibt Leute, die sind wohl aus der grossen Stadt und die sind es deshalb wohl nicht gewohnt gegrüsst zu werden. Andere können kein Griechisch und die grüssen dann in irgendeiner Sprache zurück, das ist mir auch recht.

[1]Alle Briefkästen / Postfächer des Dorfes sind am einen Ende des Dorfes zusammen in einem Kasten. So hat es die Briefträgerin nicht so weit.

Posted by betabug at 22:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 November 2016

Tired Pony

Broken down old car
Broken down Citroën Pony in Greek telephone company OTE colors

There is certainly not a lack of old, broken down cars in these parts. Most of them are tastefully hidden in some garden, but some are near to the road.

One example is this Namco / Citroën Pony. It's standing at the local base of the OTE telephone company (used to be a state monopol). There is some good company of retired public payphones to make almost an open air technology museum with it.

The Pony was based on the Citroën 2CV. It was manufactured or assembled in Thessaloniki.

As a former 2CV driver, I like seeing this Pony. Even if I don't really like the poor shape it's in. Greece has mostly gotten rid of these old, simple cars. It's really rare to see one anywhere. I remember coming to the 2CV world meeting to Greece in 1999, and even back then there weren't many Ponys around. The only one at the world meeting was from outside of Greece.

Posted by betabug at 21:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 February 2017

Start of Spring

It's getting warmer, now for some more rain!
Almond tree in flowers

I'm not really active on this poor weblog. Somehow the desire to write stuff isn't there. But since I decided that I should write at least one post per month and February is almost over, let's have a look at what I'm up to lately.

Two things have picked up a bit: Work and cycling. At work I had a very good sprint with the international pizza team in November, then a good off-time over the holidays and new year, and then I managed to work on some interesting parts of the project, so the spirit is high.

In cycling, on the one hand I felt as if I hadn't really done very much during winter. I tried to put in about 100km / 5 hours per week. Mostly I was taking it easy, and mostly I wasn't in the shape for more than taking it easy. On the other hand as a swiss friend who visited last week remarked: "Hey, you rode all winter!" Indeed I did. I even had a few snowflakes fall on me one day.

Last year we didn't really have much of a winter, except for 3 days of snow around new years. Last February it was so warm that I was riding some days with short sleeves, without even a base layer underneath. The result of that winter was a very dry summer. This year there is a bit more rain so far. Not enough yet, but there is still hope (knocks on wood). We also had plenty of cold days - at least for our standards here. So when it's something like 14 - 16°C now for a week, it feels really nice.

The almond trees are in flower, and there are yellow flowers all over the green fields. It really looks like we're at the start of spring here on the island!

Posted by betabug at 20:37 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
30 September 2017

Der erste Regen und ein anderes "erstes"

In der üblichen Reihe von Wetterbeobachtungen

Vom 16. bis zum 24. September war ich mal wieder in der Schweiz. In weiser Vorraussicht zog ich für die Reise lange Hosen an. Erstes mal lange Hosen seit ungefähr April oder Mai. Ich komme mit dem Zug in St.Gallen an. Im Zug war ich noch kurzärmelig unterwegs. Als ich dann ausstieg, musste ich erstmal mitten im Bahnhof den Koffer aufmachen und etwas langärmeliges und meine Jacke rausholen.

Es war gar nicht so wirklich, richtig kalt, aber es regnete. Das war dann der erste Regen seit Juni für mich (im Juni hat es bei uns noch geregnet, was sehr selten ist, aber es kommt vor).

Gestern abend hat es dann auch hier auf Naxos geregnet. Das Wetter ist auch wolkig und "winterig". Wie üblich ist der Regen sehr erwünscht, den können wir gut brauchen.

Posted by betabug at 15:02 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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